James Swan books

Happy Indigenous Peoples’ Day!

Today is the first day that the City of Portland is commemorating Indigenous Peoples’ Day as opposed to Columbus Day.

Last week the city council voted to make the change. A release from the city notes that Portland is home to the ninth largest Native American population in the United States, and its urban Native community is descended from over 200 tribes. The Oregonian quoted Portland Mayor Charlie Hales who said Portlanders have a responsibility to “remember and to learn” about the region’s history. “We can remember, we can repair, and we can respect,” he said.

 

From the City of Portland’s press release:

Indigenous Peoples’ Day was first proposed in 1977 by the delegation of Native Nations to the United Nations. It wasn’t until 2010 that the United States endorsed a United Nations declaration that recognized “indigenous peoples have suffered from historic injustices as a result of … their colonization and dispossession of their lands, territories and resources.”

 

Therefore, in the spirit of the new designation, I thought Indigenous Peoples’ Day might be a fun opportunity to share a bit about a body of work from the late 1800’s that I’m interested in, and that provides a unique insight on native tribes of the Washington Coast during that era.

When I was a kid, my step-dad worked for a time as a consultant for the Makah Tribe on Washington’s Pacific Coast. I grew up with their artwork adorning our home, and many weekends were spent exploring the Hoh Rainforest and surrounding areas. During family gatherings we’d bake salmon in the backyard over an open fire, an homage of sorts to a technique my step-dad learned from the tribe.

A couple years ago I happened upon the tale of a former Port Townsend resident named James Gilcrest Swan who lived in Oregon Territory/Washington State from the early 1850’s until his death in 1900. He was the subject of Ivan Doig’s critically acclaimed book “Winter Brothers” and several of Swan’s writings and illustrations were published posthumously, beginning in the 1970’s. There’s an excellent book of his illustrations and watercolors titled “James Swan, Chā-tic” that demonstrates Haida artwork, Quinault Villages and assorted native ceremonies. There’s also a collection of his journals titled, “The Northwest Coast.”

James Swan NW Coast selection

Selection from “The Northwest Coast,” published by University of Washington Press

During his lifetime, Swan was hired by the American government to teach English to members of the Makah tribe. He kept a detailed journal of his experience and during his time on the Washington Coast he collected artifacts from the region and sent them to museums on the East Coast. It is because of Swan’s efforts that insights and clues to the lives of the tribes during the 1800’s exist today.

It’s true that Swan writes about Native tribes through the vantage of a biased Anglo-American. Swan was a man of many faults. He completely abandoned his wife and kids in Boston to venture to the West Coast, and died a notorious alcoholic. He’s judgmental on tribal customs and tramples on their culture in his role as English teacher in an effort to prepare them for the impending influx of white Europeans. A cynic might argue that he documented the fall of their communities and was an active participant in doing so. Conversely, it’s apparent in his writing that he has a compassion and respect for the native people of the region and is often disgusted by the cultural insensitivity demonstrated by other Euro-Americans. It’s apparent that he made many friends among the local Native populations and appears to be an anomaly for his era. For those reasons, I recommend checking out his journals and illustrations.

whale blubber preparation, from "James Swan, Chā-Tic"

whale blubber preparation, from “James Swan, Chā-Tic”

This blog is intended to acknowledge the indigenous peoples of our region on a day our city has commemorated to do so. While these books are written by an European-American, they do provide an interesting insight into Native tribes during an interesting period of history. That said, the books are no match for the beauty and wonder of the Northwest Coast.

I’d encourage anyone intrigued by this post to visit the Quinault, Hoh, Queets and Makah forests, rivers, museums and communities in the near future.

finding bosnia header

Finding Bosnia Screening, Clinton Street Theater

Independently Produced Film Is Four Years in the Making

Finding Bosnia Official Trailer from LLAMAMAMA on Vimeo.

My friend Ivana Horvat was four-years-old when she escaped the besieged capitol of Sarajevo with her mother during the Bosnian War, at one point crawling under a two-foot wall to escape a barrage of sniper gunfire from the Chetnik-aggressors. While Ivana and her mother escaped, her father and many of her other relatives stayed behind to endure a war that would ruthlessly take over 100,000 lives during the course of nearly four years.

To make her film, Finding Bosnia, Ivana teamed up with my other friend, Adrian Hopffgarten, the co-owner of her production company, LLAMAMAMA Productions, and returned to Bosnia 20 years later to re-discover the family, city and culture that Ivana unknowingly left behind as a toddler.

Ivana and Adrian will host a special fundraiser and their first Portland screening of Finding Bosnia at the Clinton Street Theater (2522 SE Clinton) this Sunday, October 11 at 3:00 p.m. The screening will raise money to fund festival submissions and distribution. Admission is a suggested $10 donation. Doors open at 2:30 p.m.

IvanaHorvat

Ivana grew up in Portland, but has said she always felt a disconnect between her American identity and Bosnian identity. Her grandparents and many other relatives remained in Bosnia during the war. Her parents would speak Bosnian at home. She knew she was Bosnian, but didn’t really know what it meant to be Bosnian. This film is a fun, educational and entertaining trip along with Ivana and Adrian as they embark on a journey to discover Ivana’s Bosnian roots for the first time.

In August I happened to be in Sarajevo, Bosnia as they screened “Finding Bosnia” for the first time at the Sarajevo Film Festival. As readers of this blog have noted, I’ve had an interest in Bosnia for the past decade that began after reading a remarkable memoir titled “Fools Rush In” by Bill Carter, which I consider to be the most influential event of my personal life in the past decade.

Finding Bosnia is fantastic, and captures a special moment in Ivana’s life. It’s especially interesting given the discussion the world has been having about refugees in light of the Syrian conflict. Ivana is just one of the Bosnian War refugees that I’ve befriended during the past couple of years, and it’s my opinion that Portland is a much richer community for all of them.

After the screening in Bosnia, their film received a standing ovation from the predominantly Bosnian audience. Hopffgarten says the response was wonderful validation for the countless hours of effort she spent ensuring every political detail from the immensely complicated conflict was properly vetted. I was impressed with their stop-motion skills, and the production and storytelling too. The Bosnian friends I attended the screening with had nothing but positive comments about the screening.

ivana i adrian

Ivana and Adrian at the sold-out screening of Finding Bosnia, Sarajevo Film Festival

Ivana says she hopes Finding Bosnia demonstrates that Bosnia is much more than a sad war-torn country and she’s excited to reach other people who have grown up living between two cultures as refugees. She hopes her personal story will shed light on what it means to be a refugee with a lost identity.

After the screening there will be a short Q&A with the directors, with a reception to follow at The Lucky Horseshoe Lounge next door. For more information visit findingbosnia.com or post questions to this blog.

ABOUT THE FILM
Finding Bosnia presents an intimate and personal journey of a Bosnian war refugee raised in Portland, Oregon who seeks to reclaim her Bosnian culture and identity. Ivana Horvat makes it her goal to create her own “Bosnia” by returning to her hometown, and interviewing other Bosnian refugees from around the world. Home video footage and stories of various generations of Bosnians, within and outside of the country, create a bridge into her Bosnia; a place where she finally feels like she belongs. FINDING BOSNIA’s world premiere was at the Sarajevo Film Festival in August 2015.

ABOUT IVANA

Ivana Horvat fled Sarajevo as a young child leaving her father, family, and city behind. After living in Germany and Malaysia, she was reunited with her father a few years later and has lived in Portland, Oregon since. Her mother and her father, Tanja and Nino Horvat, took turns capturing home videos of their new life together in Portland and twenty years later, their footage has become a lens with which Ivana can watch her transition from being a young Bosnian child to an American woman. In 2012, she returned to live in Bosnia for seven months to explore a life that could have been.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Ivana Horvat: ivana14horvat (at) gmail (dot) com
LlamaMama Productions Website: llamamama.video
Website: www.findingbosnia.com
Trailer: https://vimeo.com/134660931
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Finding-Bosnia-253603951374603
Twitter: https://twitter.com/findingbosnia

gamescom cover

gamescom 2015 – Observations on the Business of Gaming & Worldwide Fandom

 

My re-intro to video games after 12 years –

The computer and video gaming industry explosion on display for 345,000

 

Beanbag chilling gamers from around the world at games con 2015

 

The last time I got really excited about a video game was in college when I zoned out on HALO, only to emerge from my apartment three weeks later like a frail ghostly prisoner freed from a medieval dungeon. It was then that I realized my personality type was not a good fit for gaming and I haven’t been more than an occasional ‘user’ ever since.

That said, in early August I attended an event in Cologne (Köhn) Germany called gamescom. gamescom is a video game tradeshow and it’s the largest tradeshow I’ve ever attended. It also seemed to have the largest average booth budgets.

To help you picture the size of the event and numbers it attracted – 345,000 is more than the population of St. Louis, Missouri. At times, it felt like that whole population was crammed into one hall.

 

What was I doing there?

 

 

I was invited to assist at a booth run by my stepfather for his organization One Redmond, and their sub-organization called the Washington Interactive Network. The booth was shared with an economic development organization from neighboring Bellevue, and the booth hosted six indie gaming companies from the Bellevue/Redmond, Washington area that opened up their consoles to the hordes of kids (and adults) that passed by each day. One Redmond’s overarching goal was to attract European gaming companies to the city of Redmond by demonstrating its extensive local indie gaming industry, local talent and quality of life. Hosting businesses like Microsoft, Nintendo and SpaceX doesn’t hurt their cause either. I’ll vouch for the area.

 

 

Gaming revenue greater than Hollywood

 

games con fans cheer entertainers

Entertainers create excitement for a farming simulator and free t-shirts

 

gamescom opened my eyes to the size and extent of the industry – one that had somehow remained on the periphery of my day to day thought despite its commanding presence in the media. One insider casually mentioned to me that the gaming industry raked in more money in the first 8 months of this year than the film industry in all of last year. A quick internet search shows experts predict gaming to be a $100 billion dollar industry within three years.

I saw mammoth companies I’d never heard of – including wargaming.net, Bethesda Softworks, Ubisoft, crytek, Blizzard. My childhood self would have loved to happen upon a Sierra Entertainment booth. They were the makers of a mainstay of my adolescence – Kings Quest. Alas, I was unable to find them in the ten halls of the show and through the hordes of gamers.

Booths at gamescom were enormous and many featured stages occupied by their own tee shirt tossing MC’s. You may expect a popular and wildly interactive company like Rockstar Games to garner a cheering crowd, but I was surprised when even a farming simulator had throngs of kids cheering and screaming for projectiles tossed by a dirndl-clad German gal.

wargaming.net also had a large stage flanked by screaming throngs of kids (and adults) as serious-looking synchronized dancers dressed in military garb moved their hips or twisted LED lit swords to inspired movements.

Many of the more violent games had completely enclosed booths with marketing-plastered walls stretching towards the ceiling and preventing younger kids from catching a glimpse of the more graphic content inside (or maybe just keeping the crowd moving along in an orderly fashion?).

Kids waited in line for hours to simply watch trailers for upcoming video game releases. Unfortunately, I did not partake in said activity, so I do not have a detailed report for you.

 

 

YouTube is the SportsCenter of gaming

 

Kids flocking to the YouTube gamescom booth

Kids flocking to the YouTube gamescom booth

 

A huge player in the gaming industry, YouTube’s booth at gamescom had taken on the vibe of a SportsCenter broadcasting booth.

Don’t believe me? Feast your eyes upon this link: https://gaming.youtube.com

I got my first look at YouTube’s influence on gaming last summer when I noticed my 11-year-old cousin was spending much of his vacation time at Yellowstone National Park watching YouTube videos… of other kids… playing video games.

I had a surreal moment while standing at the YouTube booth when I realized I was watching an entire horde of kids (sprinkled with those wearing “free hug” signs – what is up with that trend???) whose eyes were transfixed on giant screens where they watched other kids playing video games.

I’ve since learned there are professional video game players who pull in over a million dollars per year. For a good cry, check out this list of top earners.

For another good cry, check out this story from KING 5 News in Seattle about a guy named Bacon Donut (@bacondonutTV), working for a company called n3rdfusion who plays a game called Minecraft all day – FOR A LIVING!

And, here I thought Joey Chestnut had the best job in the world.

For a good laugh, check out this segment of Jimmy Kimmel being educated by kids on gaming.

 

 

Gaming trade delegations

 

Of the many halls at the event (I believe there were 10 total) one of the more interesting halls (due to interesting conversation) had trade delegations representing gaming regions, including: China, Britain, France, Iran, Croatia, Germany, Austria, Canada, South Korea, Italy, etc. I met people from Russia, Belarus, Latvia, Estonia, Greece, Spain, Switzerland and Japan. Oregon was not represented…

 

 

Interesting marketing campaigns

 

fallout marketing campaign

fallout marketing campaign

 

The organization representing Belgium were perhaps the most savvy marketers of their region. They combined information about their gaming industry while bribing people to linger using their other most popular export – beer (well, most popular after waffles, of course). It was hard to compete with free beer, and it might be a good idea to file away for future businesses representing the Pacific NW at trade shows, as Northwest IPA’s seem to have captured the imagination of the Euro pals I’d met.

One of my favorite marketing campaigns was for a game I’ve never played, nor ever even heard of – Fallout 4. The game is a violent post-apocalyptic romp around a world after a nuclear holocaust, but their logo is a smiling winking blonde-haired kid flashing a thumbs up hand sign. His little face was displayed on billboards all over the city of Cologne throughout the week I was there. At one Fallout booth fans could get their hair dyed yellow to mimic the cartoon kid. I saw many full-grown adult men have their head, beards and mustaches colored yellow – and they didn’t even seem to be embarrassed to walk around the town as such.

 

 

New avenues for revenue

 

While it was fun to see kids dressed in favorite costumes, it was equally fun exploring booths in the business hall. Supplemental supporting companies exist for every facet of production. For example, I met one man from China whose studio designed artwork for gaming companies.

An interesting challenge I learned of – the transfer of money isn’t as fluid in Europe as it is in the United States (as evidenced in the numerous businesses in Germany including restaurants and grocery stores that did not accept my Visa credit or debit cards).

Several European companies offer services to North American indie gaming companies who need help navigating European rules and regulations for commerce. These companies also find clients new revenue streams in different mediums (apps, websites, ads, etc) in each of the different European countries and on different online platforms.

As the week at gamescom wrapped up, I marveled at how fun it was getting a sneak peek into an industry with so much creative talent working together to create new and unique forms of entertainment – from the games on down to the booths that promote them.

 

 

I hope you enjoy the photos and videos!

 

 

Jerry Casey at AM:PM PR

Jerry Casey on The Oregonian and the State of the Newspaper Industry [PODCAST]

 

The Oregonian’s Breaking News Manager on the Evolving Newsroom

The Oregonian’s manager of breaking news, Jerry Casey (@jjeremiahcasey), was our latest featured guest at AM:PM PR’s Speakeasy. Jerry provided some interesting insights from inside today’s newsroom and The Oregonian’s historic transformation. He correlated the evolution of news consumption with the shift in staff needs and pace of story production. Jerry recognized the impacts on the public relations industry and offered tips for pitching journalists with the new newsroom in mind. Hear Jerry’s observations from inside the The Oregonian newsroom and his take on the state of news media today on our first-ever Speakeasy with AM:PM PR podcast

The Oregonian Today

Changes at the Oregonian have been a hot topic among journalists, ex-journalists and PR professionals over the past several years. Most recently, the paper announced the closure of  its printing plant and plan to outsource. Over the last five years hundreds of Oregonian staff have been laid off leading people to wonder, what’s going on around there?

Without much context the layoffs can seem quite callous, but are these changes simply the result of new technologies and how today’s reader consumes news? Understanding how readers consume the news is another way that technology has altered the newspaper business – and new technologies give greater insight than ever before.

Clickbait, Quotas and Millennials

News site analytics show an increasing number of readers attracted by clickbait over hard-hitting reporting. This data effects the types of stories news organizations invest in.

How is The Oregonian adapting? Last year Willamette Week published a leaked email about new guidelines for Oregonian reporters that included rules for social media usage; how frequently they should be posting and how compensation will be related to readers.

That story fascinated us so we asked Jerry how it reflected changes in the newspaper business what the resulting cultural impact has had on older reporters in the newsroom. We also wondered how much the new guidelines were influenced by millennials joining the workforce.

Jerry differentiated between producing narratives and, simply, relaying information. In fact, he explained many stories “don’t need a narrative.” This is a useful point for those hoping to pitch stories to the media.

Pitching The Oregonian

Staff reductions, evolving reader interests and managements expectations of reporters have made pitching more difficult for public relations professionals. Jerry offered suggestions for pitching Oregonian staff, including starting with reporters you know, how to think about the story your pitching and what tactics to avoid.

About Jerry Casey

Jerry has worked as an editor in Portland since 1999. His diverse newspaper career includes stints in Virginia and Florida, in addition to Oregon. He’s been a copyeditor, business editor, city editor, bureau chief and The Oregonian‘s first online editor.

 

We hope you enjoy our inaugural Speakeasy with AM:PM PR podcast. In the future we hope to tap into our team of experts to discuss crisis communication, media relations, strategic communication and share more from our Speakeasy guests.

 

AMPMPR Speakeasy

FORMER FEATURED GUESTS:

To join our Speakeasy group, click on the following Facebook hyperlink.

KGW's Pat Dooris at AM:PM PR's Speakeasy

KGW’s Pat Dooris at AM:PM PR’s Speakeasy

Thanks for listening!


 

marijuana industry connections

Cannabis – A Primer for Oregon Business

Our work with the International Cannabis Business Conference and Oregon Medical Marijuana Business Conference gave us a good look into the culture and complexity of the Oregon Cannabis Industry. In the following blog we’re happily sharing some of what we’ve learned with our local business partners, friends and loyal readers.

The 411 on Oregon Legalization

Possession of marijuana is now legal in Oregon. Purchasing marijuana? That’s a different matter. The Oregon legislature has been discussing a plan allowing dispensaries to sell to adults who are 21 and over, beginning October 1st, but the legislature has until next year to create more permanent rules for the retail sale and purchase of cannabis products. So, while it’s currently still illegal to buy and sell the stuff, if a stork delivers a baggie on your doorstep, or a stash appears via immaculate conception on your coffee table – you’re totally in the clear!

Legal possession has its limits, too. Adults are allowed up to 8-ounces of cannabis in their homes and up to one ounce away from home without fear of criminal prosecution. Oregon residents 21 and over may have up to four plants in their home.

It’s also still illegal to consume cannabis substances in public places, but oddly enough, at the  “giveaway and smoke out” event celebrating an end to prohibition – participants were granted the right to LEGALLY trade, test and posses up to seven grams of cannabis.

Confused yet?

The Cannabis Industry 

The cannabis industry culture is unique, but members are as serious as any member of Oregon business community. Conversations with cannabis entrepreneurs are nothing like the ones you may have had with your best friends’ older brother back in high school. For example, any references to “grass” should be saved for conversations about Linn County horticulture.

ARC View Cannabis Industry Numbers

Business Opportunities

With the successful legalization of cannabis in Oregon, Washington Alaska, Colorado and, likely, California  in 2016 – the “Cannabis Country” of the West Coast will be a multi-billion dollar industry. Growth of the cannabis industry will have a broader impact on the economy by increasing demand for innovation, supporting technologies and professional services. Examples include:

  • Commercial Real Estate Brokers – More than 300 dispensaries have already been approved in Oregon. Growers, wholesalers, processors and retailers all need space and brokers have the expertise to find the best options and negotiate the best deals.
  • Lawyers – Any business owner should have an attorney to help set up their entity, but cannabis industry entrepreneurs are blazing trails and all the laws have yet to be settled and defined. Lawyers with cannabis industry knowledge and expertise will be in demand to help business owners ensure compliance, protect their intellectual property, guide the licensing process and negotiate contracts.
  • Investment Brokers – All the big investment groups are offering cannabis portfolios, but now some firms specialize solely on the industry. Smart investors are seeing a cash crop potential and the number of interested parties will continue growing. 
  • Public Relations/Marketing – As stores become established across the state retailers and related product manufacturers will need to differentiate themselves to stand out and compete for customers. Cannabis growers will discover they face education barriers that create communication challenges similar to other agricultural and natural resource industries. Likewise, they’ll need to educate consumers – much in the same way that vineyards discuss terroir, palate, nose and qualities unique to different grape varietals and growing techniques. Entrepreneurs will benefit by thinking about branding, communications planning, social media strategy and media relations early in the game.
  • Security Firms – Dispensaries and growth operations will be wise to protect their premises and hire guards. These properties are at risk for break-ins and theft like liquor stores and distilleries – likely greater risk. Just as with investment brokerages, specialized security firms have already spawned.
  • Insurance Agents – All businesses need insurance and the cannabis industry has its own unique needs and requirements. Specialty insurance agencies have cropped up to serve the industry and this area of the insurance sector will continue to grow.
  • Tourism & Hospitality Stakeholders – 420-friendly hotels have popped up in Colorado (Bud & Breakfast) and there’s no reason to think they won’t in Oregon. While most hotels, B&B’s and new economy rental businesses like VRBO, Vacasa or AirBnB are smoke-free, many may decide to make an exception to attract cannatourists. Additionally, who’s to say that taxis and Uber and Lyft drivers won’t benefit from a surge in ridership with an influx of these tourists, many of whom will look to enjoy the best of Portland’s dining experiences.

Time will tell what the cannabis industry will bring to Oregon’s businesses and economy, but getting in early will offer the most opportunity for those who want to capitalize.

For more on the industry, the current status of laws and potential opportunities, check out these sources:

International Cannabis Business Conference: http://internationalcbc.com

Marijuana Politics: http://marijuanapolitics.com

The Northwest Leaf: http://www.thenorthwestleaf.com

Oregon Cannabis Connection: http://occnewspaper.com

Dope Magazine: http://www.dopemagazine.com

The Cannabist : for a wonderful glossary for cannabis industry lexicon

 

jerry casey header

Next Speakeasy: Adapting to a 21st Century Newsroom

What is it like to be a breaking news reporter in today’s fast-paced 24/7 news cycle? What draws their attention? Join us July 15th at 4 p.m. at AM:PM PR to get these questions answered by our next Speakeasy host — Jerry Casey — breaking news manager for The OregonianChanges to The Oregonian’s newsroom have been widely discussed. These major shifts have changed how Jerry reports and he’ll share what that means for those who work with media.

Jerry has worked as an editor in Portland since 1999. His diverse newspaper career includes stints in Virginia and Florida, in addition to Oregon. Jerry says that in his 25 year career as a journalist he’s been unable to hold one job without coveting another. He’s been a copyeditor, business editor, city editor, bureau chief and The Oregonian‘s first online editor — a role that shapes how stories are produced and consumed.

Most importantly, Jerry is the husband of another journalist and the father of two kids: Rosencrantz from the Jesuit High School production of “Hamlet” and the only left-handed pitcher/first baseman playing for the Padres in the Cedar Mill Little League.

We hope to see you for what will be a compelling and enjoyable Speakeasy featuring a remarkable journalist. Please RSVP with Mike if you plan to attend.

jerry casey speakeasy canva

 

get the interview, get the job

Get the Interview, Get the Job

Student Portfolio Reviews Reveal Successful Tools & Tactics

For several years I’ve volunteered to review hardcopy portfolios from graduating University of Oregon public relations students. As part of the U of O program, each student presents their portfolio to a panel of three PR/marketing/communication professionals who rate their demeanor, presentation skills and mastery of career-related projects and assignments.

This experience, in addition to reviewing the daily emails and resumes sent to AM:PM PR by new hire hopefuls, has given me a good idea as to what makes a job candidate stand out. I’ve come to appreciate the value of a portfolio – it may be the best and most underused tool by jobseekers. While not always necessary, a portfolio can bolster the information found on a resume by demonstrating an expanded understanding of communication challenges and solutions.

Your portfolio should be easy to follow and easy to share. For the in-person interview, bring a hardcopy, or a tablet to walk through your work with a little digital pizzazz. Either way, make sure you bring extra printed copies of your best work to leave behind with your interviewer, who may want to share it with other decision makers.

Assembling the Standout Portfolio

Great portfolios for PR job candidates include:

  • an up-to-date resume with skills and experience highlighting abilities related the the job you are interviewing for.
  • a compilation of writing samples, i.e. pitch emails, press releases, blog posts and college assignments.
  • before/after analytical data, such as website or social platform analytics from projects that you worked on.
  • graphic, presentation or information design assignments. If you’re using printed pieces within a hardcopy portfolio, make sure you use high quality images. Pixelated images give the impression you don’t really understand the tools or you won’t go the extra mile on the job.
  • materials or case studies from previous work or school experience that demonstrate strategy and results or challenges and solutions.
Leave a lasting impression

If time allows, offer to walk through your portfolio during the interview. Explain each item you’ve included as a case study – the assignment, how you thought through it, how it was executed and what the results were. The students who stood out most in the portfolio reviews I’ve experienced identified PR-related challenges and demonstrated their solutions and results.

Bonus points

Create a professional portfolio website. Think of it as your own personal branding tool. An attractive website demonstrates you value good design. Share links to your successes i.e. social sites, earned media, guest posts. Draft engaging and relevant blog posts. It doesn’t hurt to write fan posts about professionals you admire either. Like this interview with our very own Pat McComick

Think about how you appear everywhere online. Include as much as possible on your LinkedIn profile and any other digital platform you use professionally, including your personal website. At 33-years-old, and only 7 years removed from a fledgling rock’n’roll career, I’m not a curmudgeon, per se – but even I recognize the importance of a clean social media profile. Consider the professional reputation you are building and what potential employers could take away from the messages you type or the information you share. You don’t have to stop having fun, but you do need to demonstrate you understand privacy settings.

Now, go get ‘em.

james joyce portrait

Irish Event Explores 20th Century’s Most Controversial Novel

James Joyce has been dead for nearly 75 years but he still reigns as one of Ireland’s leading literary ambassadors, thanks in part to the annual commemoration of Bloomsday, an event celebrating his masterwork “Ulysses.” Arguably more controversial than “Tropic of Cancer” – and making “50 Shades of Grey” appear tame in comparison – “Ulysses” was the subject of bans and censorship – at one point the postal service even refused to transport a magazine that had printed sections of it. The novel was banned in the United States until 1933.

The local chapter of the Ancient Order of Hibernians (AOH) will celebrate the 111th anniversary of Bloomsday at Kells Irish Pub (112 SW 2nd Ave) on Tuesday, June 16th at 7 p.m. The free event is AOH’s 18th annual Bloomsday event and will feature discussions and readings exploring Joyce’s work, Irish culture and Hibernian Unity.

When: Tuesday, June 16th at 7 p.m.
Where: Kells, 112 SW 2nd Ave.

Interestingly, the AOH is a Catholic-based organization, and Portland’s chapter has been active celebrating Irish culture, including hosting politicians from Sinn Fein and (living) Irish authors too. Here’s a link to learn more about the Ancient Order of the Hibernians.

james joyce

Biography has an excellent piece on Joyce, click for more

“The thing with Bloomsday is that there really aren’t many commemorations or celebrations in America, but in Ireland it’s a big deal,” said Bill Gallagher, a charter member of AOH’s Portland chapter and its current president. “We feel Bloomsday provides a fun opportunity to emphasize the cultural as well as the social and political aspects of our shared Irish heritage.”

Portland’s Bloomsday event has been hosted by the AOH since the 1980s and has ranged from involved productions, to simple gatherings of members and friends sharing their favorite works of James Joyce. This year’s event will fall somewhere between the two.

About the AOH.
The Ancient Order of Hibernians Portland had a chapter in the early part of the last century which was disbanded during the Depression. David O’Longaigh and Chuck Duffy saw to its revitalization in the mid-seventies and now the organization meets about nine times a year on a variety of topics ranging from contemporary Irish politics to classic literature and an annual St. Patrick’s Day banquet.

“I resent violence or intolerance in any shape or form. It never reaches anything or stops anything. A revolution must come on the due installments plans. It’s a patent absurdity on the face of it to hate people because they live round the corner and speak a different vernacular, so to speak.” James Joyce, “Ulysses”

For More About James Joyce.
Biography Feature on Joyce
Feature on Joyce and his Publisher
An analysis on “Ulysses” and Bloomsday

Nuvi comment bubbles

Bullies in the Sandbox – the underbelly of online media

For the past six months I’ve been using NUVI a real-time social media-monitoring tool – to track mentions and conversations about a crisis communication-related topic. NUVI allows me to view and track fresh blogs, Facebook posts, tweets and even comments posted on media websites.

Totally NSA, I know.

Here’s the thing. I’m also observing cadres of mouth-breathing trolls who spend their entire days professing their, supposedly, informed interpretation of issues. While I support enthusiasm for expressing opinions, the tragic reality is that most are basing their opinions on incorrect information and false rumors. A little research, say simply reading the article they’re posting a comment beneath or having a basic understanding of the judicial process, would abate their sharpest criticisms. Unfortunately, these people live in a universe unbound by reasoned thought and discourse. That universe is the comment section of online media.

Comments from a recent Willamette Week article.

Comments from a recent Willamette Week article.

If you’ve read the comment section of any online news story you’ve likely seen the mutterings of these befuddled dunderheads – or others who intentionally propagate false information for whatever distorted aims they have.

Sit back and ponder the negative consequences of these ‘communities.’ You’ll soon find yourself outraged that media sites are, seemingly, pandering to the bullies in the sandbox. To what end? Increased web traffic? Beefy analytics reports? Is there research showing that trolls are more likely to buy subscriptions or purchase products promoted by online advertisements?

I don’t think all web visitors are worth the same value to a marketer, and I’m gonna sound like a blowhard here – but I believe comment sections are bad for society and likely drive ineffective data for marketers. A direct result is that toxic misinformation and uneducated conjecture is spread like a communicable disease to ends of the earth. I have seen it with my own eyes, and it isn’t pretty.

Jimmy modeling the new AM:PM-brand anti-troll 3000

Jimmy modeling the new AM:PM PR-brand anti-troll 3000

Now, I am not arguing for the abolishment of the comment section. There are some threads where interesting, smart, thoughtful people chime in and contribute to an article. Unfortunately, these instances are far too rare.

What I want is for news organizations to take a stand against enabling the overflow of idiocy cascading from comment sections like the frothy foam forming from the mouths of their most racist and bigoted supporters. These sites have nothing to lose, but our society has a lot to gain.

keep calm don't feed trolls

For More:
Russian internet “troll” sues former employer
Comment sections are poison: handle with care or remove them
How Comments Shape Perceptions of Sites’ Quality—and Affect Traffic

PR Parfait Blog featuring Pat McCormick

PR PARFAIT REPOST: PR Pro Spotlight – Pat McCormick

 

U of O senior and Allen Hall PR Account Supervisor, Kati VanLoo, interviewed Pat McCormick for her blog – PR Parfait. We’re reposting and giving Kati two thumbs up.


Katie VanLoo authors the PR Parfait blog

 

By Kati VanLoo
Published March 11, 2015

 

I was thrilled to have the opportunity to interview AM:PM PR Partner Pat McCormick. A communication pro with over 40 years of experience in issue management, Pat knows the ins and outs of the public relations industry. Now he spends his days at the Portland agency with his daughter Allison McCormick and other team members navigating the PR needs of their clients. Here’s some insight he provided on the industry and advice for those of us just venturing out into the job market.

PR Pro Pat McCormick

Photo from The Portland Business Journal’s “Cool Spaces” feature May 23, 2014

 

How did AM:PM PR come to be?

My daughter Allison worked for me at a PR agency in Salem for fifteen of the twenty years that I was there. In the final five years she was there, she helped with more consumer-facing PR. The young professionals were really having an impact on how everybody was communicating. It made it really clear how difficult the evolution is in our business. It personally excited me to be working at a time when there was so much change going on. When I could have retired, I talked to Allison about starting this business to continue to be a part of what’s changing.

 

How are young PR professionals impacting the industry?

Young professionals come into the workplace now with a sense of the currency of what’s going on. There’s a type of reverse coaching that comes from young professionals today because there are ways they grew up communicating that are different from the way older practitioners communicate. This generation also comes into the workplace in a little bit of a different fashion than, say, the Baby Boomer generation. That generation’s young professionals came into the workplace with the notion of “keep your head down; keep quiet.” Young professionals will come in today thinking, “I can contribute today.” It’s energizing in the workplace.

 

How important are ethics in PR?

I think an important element of PR is adhering to the ethical standards of our business. We want to have credibility, and we want reporters to trust us. The longer you’re in the business, the more you value those standards to not only help guide what you do but also decide what lines those you’re working with may be crossing. Also, we are often called in to help organizational leadership identify how their decisions could impact significant stakeholders of their company. That means sometimes you’re telling a CEO something he doesn’t want to hear, but in order to live up to the standards of our business we have to do that to our best ability. If that means that we have to fire that client when they want to continue making unethical decisions, then we fire that client. There are no long-term benefits to crossing those lines.

 

What is one challenge you think many PR pros face?

Part of what I think is often overlooked as a significant component to what we do is listening. We have to listen in order to fully understand what they are asking; they may not know enough to know exactly what to ask for. So, we have to listen and help them figure out what it is that they need. It’s really easy to just jump to, “Oh, why don’t you just do that,” without truly understanding what their needs are. Don’t jump too quickly to a solution without fully understanding the problem.

 

What advice do you have for PR pros in training?

Building a network can’t start too soon. The best available tool right now is LinkedIn. Be hungry for every contact that you make to be a connection on LinkedIn. Include the people you are going to school with; there will be times later on when those connections will give you the opportunity to speak with someone through them. Capitalize on those connections.

 

What are you looking for in new hires who have just graduated?

Something we look for, which I always credit Kelli Matthews for being the one who helped make possible [at the University of Oregon], is a student who understands the digital platforms. Do they have an online portfolio, a blog, a Twitter feed? What do they like to post, and how active are they? I just like to know they have familiarity with those types of platforms.

Also, we look for the ability to write. Along with being able to write well, journalistic-ally speaking, it’s important to see if the person can identify what’s important and can be clear, concise, and to the point.